The Star Tribune has learned that Adrian Peterson did indeed play Sunday in the Vikings' 42-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints at Mall of America Field.
The All-Pro running back, who missed the previous three games because of a high-left ankle sprain, touched the ball only 10 times, including just six when it was a one-score game at halftime. And, no, he wasn't exactly thrilled about his workload. Or the team's effort level. Or how quickly the players became deflated once the Saints started gaining control in the third quarter.
First, the carries.
"I was upset by it a little bit," said Peterson, who had 60 yards on 10 carries, including a 39-yarder that set up a touchdown. "I don't know what goes through coach's mind. They knew I had the injury, so maybe on different plays, they wanted to keep me out. ... Unfortunately, we got down, and when we got behind, it happened pretty quick."
Through three quarters, the Vikings were outgained in total yards, 480-98, and first downs, 29-5. They went on to give up a team record 36 first downs and set the NFL mark for consecutive games without an interception (nine). Since the Vikings' last interception, teams have thrown for 2,447 yards and 25 touchdowns.
The last time a Vikings team looked this flat and overmatched at home, Brad Childress lost his job the day after a 31-3 loss to the Packers a year ago. Asked if he was satisfied with the team's effort, Peterson was blunt.
"Not really, not today," he said. "I don't feel like it offensively or defensively. Special teams did a good job, but it was just a lot of missed tackles defensively, a lot of missed opportunities offensively. There was some effort out there, but it wasn't good enough."
Peterson said he felt the team's deflation in the second half.
"Just look at it," Peterson said. "Nothing was going right. Offensively, the last few drives, we did a pretty good job of moving the ball. Defensively, we struggled."
Defensive end Jared Allen said he didn't see anyone quitting. He pointed to a diving tackle by linebacker E.J. Henderson at the end and then voiced frustration about being pulled with the score out of hand late in the game.
"What are they resting me for? The playoffs?" Allen said. "You want to be out there giving it your all with the guys."
Allen also sounded chafed when asked about being rested occasionally earlier in the game.
"For me, I want to play the whole game," Allen said. "I don't want to come off the field. I feel like we're trying to win games. So we should put our best players on the field."
Linebacker Chad Greenway also said lack of effort wasn't the problem.
"You can write articles and do whatever you want," Greenway said. "You can break down every player. Good, bad or ugly. But we just aren't good enough as a team, as a group. Offensively, defensively and special teams, from the No. 1 on the roster to the last man on the roster. We just aren't good enough. It's as simple as that."